The Spinoff’s cash for content deal with IRD revealed, taxpayers out of pocket $46,000

We previously wrote about The Spinoff and their ‘cash for content’ articles.

It now turns out that ‘cash for content’ is rather larger than one would ever have imagined.

The Spinoff received $40,000 ($46,000 including GST) from the IRD for their “Tax Heroes” propaganda series. Quote:

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that The Spinoff have broken the terms of their agreement with IRD to publish content in their Tax Heroes project.

The Tax Heroes project, which featured a number of articles from writers associated with The Spinoff, intended to highlight the public good of paying taxes, and in doing so promote compliance with tax obligations among the public.

Due to an official information request, the Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that The Spinoff was paid $40,000 ($46,000 including GST) by the IRD to publish the series. End quote.

This series advocated for capital gains and wealth taxes, and told us “tax is love”. Can you imagine the howls of outrage if Whaleoil received taxpayer money to write about how “tax is theft”?

On top of that they appear to have broken their contract and pushed one political party’s lines: Quote:

The IRD is required to be politically neutral – especially so for matters currently under consideration by Sir Michael Cullen’s Tax Working Group.

The Spinoff’s contract with the IRD specifically states: The Spinoff agrees not to refer to any political party or their policies in the content.

However, an IRD-branded article by Maria Slade, published on 31 March, ignores the contractual obligation.

See also the disclosure statement at the end of the article:


The article “Why the lack of a capital gains tax is letting property companies off lightly” advocates for a Green Party policy, a capital gains tax, violating the agreement.

Further, the article’s very first sentence references Labour, which again violates the agreement.

Other overtly political articles bear the ‘Tax Heroes’ tag, but without IRD branding. IRD and The Spinoff must explain whether any of these articles were paid for with taxpayer funds.

If not, and IRD funding was only used for the articles labeled ‘partner content’, then the cost per article was approximately $6,600 – which seems extraordinary. End quote.

They’ve also just announced a new TV show, again funded by the taxpayer. You have to wonder if they’d stay afloat as a business if it wasn’t for the public teat.

The IRD is meant to be held to higher standard of political neutrality. Maybe they’re overfunded if they can afford handouts to leftist-millennial platforms like The Spinoff.

The Spinoff needs to carry warning labels, that their content is bought and paid for by a government or corporate customer.

I can’t wait for Nicky Hager to arrange a hack of The Spinoff to out their own dirty politics practices.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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